The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), India’s first mission to Mars, joined the millions of Indian to hail and welcome Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman who returned to India on Friday night after remaining in Pakistani custody for over 60 hours.
MOM, that has completed four years orbiting the Red Planet, tweeted this to welcome message for the brave Indian pilot: "We are proud of you #WingCommandarAbhinandan."
We are proud of you #WingCommandarAbhinandan.— ISRO's Mars Orbiter (@MarsOrbiter) March 2, 2019
ISRO had launched the mission, on November 5, 2013, successfully placed itself into Martian orbit on September 24, 2014 in its first attempt.
Abhinandan Varthaman, IAF pilot Wing Commander who was captured by Pakistan, has been handed over to officials of the Indian High Commission at Wagah border near Lahore on Friday evening. Pakistan had detained him following a fierce engagement between air forces of the two sides along the Line of Control when his MiG 21 fighter jet was downed on February 27. He was received by the top officials of the Indian Air Force at the Wagah border. Abhinandan’s parents — his father is an IAF veteran — had travelled to Amritsar from Chennai this morning to meet him on arrival. However, the pilot was whisked away in a convoy by Indian officials away from the public glare.
"Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman has been handed over to us. He will now be taken for a detailed medical checkup because he had to eject from an aircraft. The IAF is happy to have him back," said Air Vice Marshal RGK Kapoor at Attari-Wagah border.
India on Wednesday summoned the acting high commissioner of Pakistan and demanded the immediate and safe return of the IAF pilot who was detained by Pakistan following an aerial engagement by air forces of the two countries. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing a special joint sitting of the parliament on Thursday announced that Pakistan will release the pilot.